Meeting Mentor Magazine

April 2024

Promoting Value

Meetings Advocacy Is Everywhere

The exhibitions industry in the U.S. and worldwide is determined to be heard loudly in 2016.

In its third year, Exhibitions Day 2016, created by the International Association of Exhibitions and Events and the Exhibitions Mean Business campaign, drew more than a hundred people to Washington, D.C. They spent June 8th building relationships with federal legislators and policy specialists and advocating for the economic value that exhibitions and events contribute to local communities and states.

Christie Greenleaf, CEM, Freeman’s senior vice president sales and industry relations, has participated in every Exhibitions Day and sits on IAEE’s advocacy committee. Her group of six advocates met with the senior legislative assistant for Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-D) and the legislative director for Rep. Nita Lowey (NY-D). “Personalization brings the value of exhibitions home to legislators and their staff,” Greenleaf explained. It’s not just the revenues exhibitions contribute locally, but the workers the industry employs who live, vote, and pay taxes in these Congresswomen’s districts. “The 100 of us on Capitol Hill with between two and eight meetings apiece radiate an ‘aha’ moment,” she said. “Great awareness — almost allegiance — is forged when we’re able to talk in this type of forum.”

Greenleaf and her colleagues also discussed H.R.4526, the Stop Online Booking Scams Act of 2016. They explained how scams not only impact room blocks and the metric that proves a show’s value, victimized attendees — without a hotel room — start with a negative experience. “It was a different topic for us to talk about at Congress, a way to draw a thread as to why this is important to the exhibitions industry,” she added.

Timed to coincide with this advocacy program was the first-ever Global Exhibitions Day (GED). It put a spotlight on the key role exhibitions play in spurring innovation and international trade. Leading partners in the event were: UFI (representing global tradeshow organizers and exhibition center operators), IAEE and SISO – Society of Independent Show Organizers. Many other exhibitions-based organizations joined the initiative from Central Europe to Australasia, India to Poland, Russia to Brazil. At last count, 36 countries had committed to supporting GED. As a global company, Freeman created a “huge social campaign pre- and during” Global Exhibitions Day, noted Greenleaf, including personalization, interviews about different company components, posts from show sites like Drupa, and videos of clients and employees telling what exhibitions mean to them

UFI asked participants to integrate the hashtag #GED16 into their communications and materials; film a “highlights” video behind the scenes of the exhibition industry; share quotes and interviews from staff and clients about the significance of the industry and their career; plan a team building or other activity for June 8; and report outcomes to UFI so that their achievements can be amplified globally. Find out more here.

A new campaign from the Meetings Mean Business industry-wide coalition ratchets up the volume on promoting the meetings industry. “Worth Meeting About” uses this year’s election cycle to connect the value of caucuses, conventions and political events with meetings and events — all are about face-to-face. The campaign’s first paid advertising will appear at the Republican National Convention in July in signage at the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. Similar signage at the Philadelphia International Airport, plus billboards along the I-95 roadway, will be placed for the Democratic National Convention one week later.

These activities came just a few months after the inaugural Global Meetings Industry Day on April 14, spearheaded by Meetings Mean Business and its partners. More than 100 advocacy events in 30 countries championed the value of meetings, events, conventions and exhibitions, and generated almost 30 million social media impressions through its #GMID16hashtag. — Maxine Golding

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About ConferenceDirect
ConferenceDirect is a global meetings solutions company offering site selection/contract negotiation, conference management, housing & registration services, mobile app technology and strategic meetings management solutions. It provides expertise to 4,400+ associations, corporations, and sporting authorities through our 400+ global associates.

About MeetingMentor
MeetingMentor, is a business journal for senior meeting planners that is distributed in print and digital editions to the clients, prospects, and associates of ConferenceDirect, which handles over 13,000 worldwide meetings, conventions, and incentives annually.

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